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Trapped on grounded plane overnight

04 April 2014 08:53

Passengers finally arrived in Hong Kong after being forced to sit grounded on a runway for seven hours

Passengers finally arrived in Hong Kong after being forced to sit grounded on a runway for seven hours

Passengers were forced to spend the night inside a locked plane on a runway after bad weather forced it to land.

Dragonair Flight KA875 took off from Shanghai at 6.30pm on Sunday with 252 passengers on board but was diverted to nearby Shenzhen airport when Hong Kong was deluged by a severe storm.

Even though conditions had improved the flight was then delayed from heading on to its intended destination by a power failure.

A spokesman for Cathay Pacific - owner of Dragonair - said passengers had to stay on board the aircraft on the tarmac for seven hours.

Cabin crew barred the doors as a number of passengers attempted to leave the plane to buy food and water as supplies ran low.

The friend of a crew member told the South China Morning Post they ended up with just one 1.5 litre bottle of water to share between them.

In a statement, the airline said: "The initial plan was to re-depart to Hong Kong as soon as the weather condition allowed... regrettably, the delay was further extended when there were technical problems with the aircraft's auxiliary power unit."

Anyone who has faced holiday nightmares in the past where they have had to fall back on the security of their travel insurance policy might have sympathy for the passengers' plight, as such situations can cause plenty of stress as well as delays in reaching a destination.

"We sincerely apologise that as Shenzhen is not an operating port for Dragonair, the deplaning process (took) longer than expected because of constraints in local ground handling and immigration clearance," the airline added.

A "special clearance" was obtained on Monday morning, which enabled passengers to alight some 11 hours after the initial departure.

Authorities in Hong Kong issued a "black" rainstorm warning - the highest possible - and advised locals to stay indoors and avoid all travel amid Sunday's storm.

They received dozens of reports of landslides and flooding, while the city's Airport Authority said more than 500 flights were delayed since the storm began.

Shenzhen airport's management could not be reached for comment.